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Phil's story

Phil Preston has shared his experience of taking part in research at UHCW during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In February, 2020, Phil was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer of the bile ducts (the thin tubes that carry bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine).

Due to his previous medical history, he was told his cancer was inoperable. At this point Phil’s cancer was 13.5cm in diameter and growing at 2.5mm a month.

Phil was told about two clinical trials running at UHCW which he could take part in. After discussions with his consultant, he decided to take part in one and in December, 2020, started receiving a new medication.

During a time where the rest of the country was moving between a tier system and national lockdown, Phil was attending weekly appointments at the Clinical Research Treatment Centre at University Hospital, Coventry, and also regularly visiting the Eye Clinic at Hospital of St Cross in Rugby as part of the trial.

Since starting the trial medication, scans show Phil’s tumour has shrunk 3.7cm, which Phil's consultant said was really encouraging.

When asked how he felt about visiting UHCW during the pandemic, Phil said: “It has been a rollercoaster but I’ve always felt very safe and never worried about coming into hospital.”

Senior Nurse Rachel Bazeley manages the Clinical Research Treatment Centre and, along with her team, has been treating research patients like Phil throughout the pandemic.

She said: “It has been an extremely challenging time but we were keen to ensure patients like Phil could still be given the opportunity to take part in research.

“All patients were tested for Covid before coming into the unit and we ensured social distancing was maintained.”